Previously, I have shared my thoughts on the benefits of allowing your team members to utilise their annual leave to relax and regenerate. Annual leave has a number of great benefits, not only for the health of your employees’, but also the overall productivity and success of your business. However, I understand that employee’s leave requests do not always work to the best interests of the business. It’s important to understand that you do not always have to approve a leave request. Especially if that leave could be damaging to your business. Therefore, it is important to have an understanding of what grounds you are able to refuse an annual leave request.
Annual leave is an entitlement, which is accrued by all permanent employees. Employees accumulate 4 weeks of paid annual leave for each year of service. However, as it is an entitlement, employers are unable to unreasonably refuse a request for annual leave. Similarly to other employment laws, legislation does not provide a definition for what constitutes an “unreasonable refusal”. The Fair Work Commission did confirm that “a decision to refuse a request for annual leave which is based upon genuine, sound business reasons would not usually be held to be unreasonable”. In order to determine if something is reasonable, a range of different factors should be considered. In addition to applying a level of common sense.
It is important to manage this process carefully to ensure you are not opening up your business to unnecessary risk. By being too harsh, you may end up needlessly damaging an employment relationship. Or opening yourself up to the risk of a claim of adverse action.
Photo by Ben White